-Easy walking trails
-Beautiful spring-fed lake
-Boardwalk over the water
Aquarena Springs (or The Meadows Center as it’s been renamed) is a small but wonderful spot. Spring Lake is the main attraction, which is indeed a spring fed lake. It sits directly on the Balcones Fault Line, so the north edge of the lake is Texas Hill County while the south edge is Gulf Coast Prairie.
Work the gravel trail starting at the ticket booth down to the boardwalk. Walk both the wooded section of boardwalk and the over water section, the slower the better. There’s always something in the cattails, usually Common Yellowthroats but sometimes a Swamp Sparrow or Sora too.
On the way back pause at the circular parking area at the middle of the property and stand under the large Live Oak for a minute, the birds seem to love this tree. The large pecans growing next to it are excellent during migration, spend extra time here during April and May.
Parking requires payment Mondays 8am through Fridays at 5pm at the electronic kiosk, although it’s rarely enforced before 9am or after 5pm on any day.
Beware the school buses that will sometimes roll in weekday mornings around 9am or 10am and unload 100+ children who quickly overrun the trails and boardwalk.
This place can get busy during business hours, especially during pleasant weather, but arrive around sunrise or after 5pm and you won’t have any problems.
Interesting Note: A family of deer are regularly seen around the edges of this property at dawn and dusk. Several individuals are either partially or wholly melanistic, so their fur is black. If you’ve never seen a black deer it is a wonderfully interesting sight, so double check any deer you see grazing.